14 December 2018
Transcript - #2018002, 2018

Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM:

The Federal Government has pledged to override plans by some states to remove gender from birth certificates. The Tasmanian lower house has passed legislation to leave gender off birth certificates and the bill will go to the states upper house next year, a similar move is being considered in the Northern Territory, but the Federal Government is vowing to step in to block the change which it calls reckless. The Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has weighed in to this today and his on the line. Stuart Robert good afternoon.

STUART ROBERT:

Ben, how are you?

FORDHAM:

I'm well, tell me why you decided to intervene?

STUART ROBERT:

Because it's madness Ben, it's not just reckless its madness. The entire ABS which reports to me and the bureau of stats which provides all the data for all the state and federal bodies including statuary bodies to do all the planning. Where hospitals go, where schools go, where fatality clinics go, where women's sexual health clinics go. So, it's a little difficult to do that planning if in our key areas like birth certificates we actually don't record the sex male or female.

FORDHAM:

What are the other complications or implications involved in removing gender from birth certificates?

STUART ROBERT:

As we move forward and if we go from there it's the census documents and other things which is a natural extension when it comes time for example for the Commonwealth to provide funding for cervical cancer vaccines exactly how many do we order Ben, if we actually don't know how many women were trying to protect. And by the way cervical cancer doesn't care how you identify it just cares if you have a cervix or not. So, I think a dose of common sense would help here. We need to know who are men, who are women so we can plan properly for the various services we have and if we start taking it off on some identity war or some identity drive we just simply won't be able to plan any more.

FORDHAM:

Is that all it is? I'm wondering what it is, is it an identity war. What is behind the move from some of these states to remove gender from birth certificates?

STUART ROBERT:

I'm sure there's a drive by the loony lefts that wants to see all sex removed from every document and allow people to identify whatever sex they want to be. I'm not going to weigh into that debate but I'm responsible for the bureau of stats which is responsible for every single bit of data we use for planning. I just can't sit by and allow states to absolutely and utterly screw up our planning regime because of a drive to allow boys and girls to call themselves something else.

FORDHAM:

I appreciate your time this afternoon Stuart, thanks for coming on.

STUART ROBERT:

No problem Ben, cheers.